Desktop notifications

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Desktop notifications are small, passive popup dialogs that notify the user of particular events in an asynchronous manner.

Libnotify

Libnotify is an implementation of the Desktop Notifications Specification which provides support for GTK+ and Qt applications and is desktop independent: it is already used by many open source apps like Evolution and Pidgin. Libnotify can be installed with the libnotify package.

In order to use libnotify, you have to install a notification server.

Notification servers

Built-in

The following desktop environments use their own implementations to display notifications, and you cannot replace them. Their notification servers are started automatically on login to receive notifications from applications via DBus.

  • Cinnamon provides a notification server itself. Notifications are displayed at the top right corner of the screen.
  • Enlightenment provides a notification server through its Notification extension. Notification options are configurable.
  • GNOME provides a notification server itself. Notifications are displayed at the top of the screen.
  • KDE Plasma provides a notification server itself. Notifications are displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Standalone

In other desktop environments, the notification server needs to be launched using your WM's/DE's "autostart" option. (It can be launched on the first call via DBus, but that's not very desirable as it needs global configuration.)

You can choose one of the following implementations:

https://github.com/p12tic/awn-extras || awn-extras-appletsAUR
  • Deepin Notifications — Notification server for Deepin.
https://github.com/linuxdeepin/deepin-notifications || deepin-notifications
  • Dunst — Minimalistic notification daemon for Linux designed to fit nicely into minimalistic windowmanagers like dwm.
http://www.knopwob.org/dunst/ || dunst
  • LXQt Notification Daemon — Notification server for LXQt.
https://github.com/lxde/lxqt-notificationd || lxqt-notificationd
https://github.com/GNOME/notification-daemon || notification-daemon
You can run it manually using /usr/lib/notification-daemon-1.0/notification-daemon.
  • MATE Notification Daemon — Notification server for MATE.
https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-notification-daemon/ || GTK+ 2: mate-notification-daemon, GTK+ 3 (experimental): mate-notification-daemon-gtk3
  • Notify OSD — Notification server for Unity.
https://launchpad.net/notify-osd || notify-osd
  • statnot — Small, lightweight notification daemon that can output notifications to the root window's title, stdout or FIFO pipes, making it integrate very well with tiling window managers.
https://github.com/halhen/statnot || statnotAUR
  • twmn — Notification system for tiling window managers.
https://github.com/sboli/twmn || twmn-gitAUR
  • Xfce Notification Daemon — Notification server for Xfce.
http://goodies.xfce.org/projects/applications/xfce4-notifyd || xfce4-notifyd
Tip: To configure xfce4-notifyd, run the following command: xfce4-notifyd-config.

Usage in programming

You can write your own libnotify display messages easily in many programming languages through GObject-Introspection or bindings, or you can simply use bash.

The following examples display simple a "Hello world" notification.

Bash

hello_world.sh
#!/bin/bash
notify-send 'Hello world!' 'This is an example notification.' --icon=dialog-information
Tip:
  • An overview on the available icons can be found here.
  • To send desktop notification from a background script running as root (replace X_user with the user running X):
    # sudo -u X_user DISPLAY=:0 notify-send 'Hello world!' 'This is an example notification.'

Boo

  • Dependency: notify-sharp-3 (boo)
  • Makedependency: boo
  • Build with: booc hello_world.boo
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe (or booi hello_world.boo)
hello_world.boo
import Notifications from "notify-sharp"
Hello = Notification()
Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!"
Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification."
Hello.IconName = "dialog-information"
Hello.Show()

C

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Build with: gcc -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs libnotify` hello_world.c
hello_world.c
#include <libnotify/notify.h>
void main () {
	notify_init ("Hello world!");
	NotifyNotification * Hello = notify_notification_new ("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
	notify_notification_show (Hello, NULL);
	g_object_unref(G_OBJECT(Hello));
	notify_uninit();
}

C++

  • Dependency: libnotifymmAUR
  • Build with: g++ -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs libnotifymm-1.0` hello_world.cc
hello_world.cc
#include <libnotifymm.h>
int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
	Notify::init("Hello world!");
	Notify::Notification Hello("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
        Hello.show();
}

C#

  • Dependency: notify-sharp-3
  • Build with: mcs -pkg:notify-sharp-3.0 hello_world.cs
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
hello_world.cs
using Notifications;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void Main() {
		var Hello = new Notification();
		Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!";
		Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification.";
		Hello.IconName = "dialog-information";
		Hello.Show();
	}
}

Cobra

hello_world.cs
@args -pkg:notify-sharp-3.0
use Notifications
class HelloWorld
    def main
        hello = Notification()
        hello.summary  = "Hello world!"
        hello.body     = "This is an example notification."
        hello.iconName = "dialog-information"
        hello.show

F#

  • Dependency: notify-sharp-3
  • Makedependency: fsharpAUR
  • Build with: fsharpc -r:notify-sharp.dll -I:/usr/lib/mono/notify-sharp-3.0/ -I:/usr/lib/mono/gtk-sharp-3.0/ hello_world.fs
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
hello_world.fs
open Notifications
let Hello = new Notification()
Hello.Summary  <- "Hello world!"
Hello.Body     <- "This is an example notification."
Hello.IconName <- "dialog-information"
Hello.Show()

Genie

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg libnotify hello_world.gs
hello_world.gs
uses 
	Notify

init
	Notify.init ("Hello world")
	var Hello=new Notification ("Hello world!","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
	Hello.show ()

Groovy

  • Dependencies: groovy, java-gnomeAUR
  • Build with: groovyc -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar HelloWorld.groovy && jar cfe HelloWorld.jar HelloWorld HelloWorld.class
  • Run with: java -cp /usr/share/groovy/embeddable/groovy-all.jar:/usr/share/java/gtk.jar:HelloWorld.jar HelloWorld (or groovy -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar HelloWorld.groovy)
HelloWorld.groovy
import org.gnome.gtk.*
import org.gnome.notify.*

Gtk.init()
Notify.init("Hello world")
def Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show()

Java

  • Dependency: java-gnomeAUR
  • Makedependency: java-environment
  • Build with: javac -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar HelloWorld.java && jar cfe HelloWorld.jar HelloWorld HelloWorld.class
  • Run with: java -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar:HelloWorld.jar HelloWorld
HelloWorld.java
import org.gnome.gtk.Gtk;
import org.gnome.notify.Notify;
import org.gnome.notify.Notification;

public class HelloWorld
{
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Gtk.init(args);
        Notify.init("Hello world");
        Notification Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
        Hello.show();
    }
}

JavaScript

hello_world.js
#!/usr/bin/gjs
const Notify = imports.gi.Notify;
Notify.init ("Hello world");
var Hello=new Notify.Notification ({summary: "Hello world!",
                                    body: "This is an example notification.",
                                    "icon-name": "dialog-information"});
Hello.show ();

Lua

hello_world.lua
#!/usr/bin/lua
lgi = require 'lgi'
Notify = lgi.require('Notify')
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello=Notify.Notification.new("Hello world","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
Hello:show()

Perl

hello_world.pl
#!/usr/bin/perl
use Glib::Object::Introspection;
Glib::Object::Introspection->setup (
	basename => 'Notify',
	version => '0.7',
	package => 'Notify');
Notify->init;
my $hello = Notify::Notification->new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
$hello->show;

Python

hello_world.py
#!/usr/bin/python
from gi.repository import Notify
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello=Notify.Notification.new("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show()

Ruby

hello_world.rb
#!/usr/bin/ruby
require 'gir_ffi'
GirFFI.setup :Notify
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello = Notify::Notification.new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show

Rust

hello_world.rs
extern crate notify_rust;
use notify_rust::Notification;
fn main(){
    Notification::new()
        .summary("Hello world")
        .body("This is an example notification")
        .icon("dialog-information")
        .show().unwrap();
}

Scala

  • Dependency: java-gnomeAUR (and scala)
  • Makedependency: scala
  • Build with: scalac -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar -d HelloWorld.jar HelloWorld.scala
  • Run with: java -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar:HelloWorld.jar HelloWorld (or scala -cp /usr/share/java/gtk.jar HelloWorld.scala)
HelloWorld.scala
import org.gnome.gtk._
import org.gnome.notify._

object HelloWorld {
  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    Gtk.init(args)
    Notify.init("Hello world")
    var Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
    Hello.show()
  }
}

Vala

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg libnotify hello_world.vala
hello_world.vala
using Notify;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void main () {
		Notify.init ("Hello world");
		var Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
		Hello.show ();
	}
}

Visual Basic .NET

  • Dependency: notify-sharp-3
  • Makedependency: mono-basic
  • Build with: vbnc -r:/usr/lib/mono/notify-sharp-3.0/notify-sharp.dll hello_world.vb
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
hello_world.vb
Imports Notifications
Public Class Hello
	Public Shared Sub Main
		Dim Hello As New Notification
		Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!"
		Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification."
		Hello.IconName = "dialog-information"
		Hello.Show
	End Sub
End Class

See also